CIA chief plays down Saudi role in 9/11 attacks
WASHINGTON - CIA chief John Brennan said Saturday that secret findings of a 2002 congressional investigation into the 9/11 attacks should not be taken as evidence of official Saudi complicity.
A decision is expected soon on whether to release the classified 28-page section of the report by the House and Senate intelligence committees.
Former senator Bob Graham, who headed the Senate intelligence committee at the time, has alleged that Saudi officials provided assistance to the 9/11 hijackers and has said the 28 pages should be made public.
"These 28 pages, I believe they are going to come out, I think it's good that they come out. But people shouldn't take them as evidence of Saudi complicity in the attacks," Brennan said in an interview with Al Arabiya, a Saudi-owned television news channel.
He noted that the report was produced just a year after Al-Qaeda hijackers flew airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania, killing nearly 3,000 people.
It "was a very preliminary review, trying to pull together bits and pieces of information, reporting about who was responsible for 9/11," Brennan said in a clip of the interview posted on the station's website.
"Subsequently the 9/11 commission looked very thoroughly at these allegations of Saudi involvement, Saudi government involvement and their finding, their conclusion was that there was no evidence to indicate that the Saudi government as an institution or Saudi senior officials individually had supported the 9/11 attacks," he said.
The 9/11 Commission, which was set up by then-president George W. Bush, presented its report in 2004.
Brennan added that over the past 15 years the Saudis "have become among our best counterterrorism partners," according to an account of the interview on Al-Arabiya's website.